The Roles of Gender Stigma Consciousness, Impostor Phenomenon and Academic Self-Concept in the Academic Outcomes of Women and Men

Kevin Cokley, Germine Awad, Leann Smith, Stacey Jackson, Olufunke Awosogba, Ashley Hurst, Steven Stone, Lauren Blondeau, Davia Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The question of gender differences in academic outcomes has been widely reported and debated. Recent data suggest more similarities than differences in achievement, yet also show males being more likely to make ability attributions for grades while females are more likely to make effort attributions. Thus, it may be more useful to focus on underlying factors and psychological processes that are gendered and influence academic outcomes. The primary purpose of this study was to test a hypothesized model of academic outcomes in a sample of U.S. undergraduate women and men in the Southwest (345 women, 146 men). Participants were recruited from an educational psychology subject pool and completed an online survey. A hypothesized path model was tested that linked gender stigma consciousness to impostor phenomenon, and linked impostor phenomenon to the academic outcomes of disengagement and grade point average (GPA) through academic self-concept. Alternative models were also tested that included 1) academic self-concept predicting impostor feelings, 2) impostor feelings predicting gender stigma consciousness, and 3) GPA predicting academic self-concept. Results revealed the hypothesized model fit the data reasonably well across men and women while the alternative models resulted in a poorer fit. However, there were notable differences in some of the paths. The path from impostor phenomenon to GPA was significant for women but not men, while the path from academic self-concept to disengagement was significant for men but not women. Theoretical and practical implications regarding the gendered role of impostor feelings in grades are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-426
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Academic self-concept
  • Gender stigma consciousness
  • Grade point average
  • Impostor phenomenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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